Having boarded a train at CHI last week after waiting in the Metropolitan Lounge, here are my thoughts:
1. The "directions" provided over the PA in the ML for how to get to the train sounded pretty complicated and VAGUE, and I was not able to digest them while getting up and gathering my party of 8 people to head out the door. I like solid landmarks and area names and the directions sounded like "go right, go left, and then go past all the people". That could mean many different things as you will see below. Also, admittedly since we were a party of 8 including children and a lot of carry on bags, we didn't make it out of the ML with the wave of people who were able to jump up at the first boarding announcement. So we missed the "crowd" who all traveled to the gate together.
2. From what I remembered of the "directions" provided over the PA in the ML for how to get to the train, they did not address the two issues I ended up having with boarding my train. Those issues were as follows:
a. Are you supposed to enter the general coach boarding area, which is where the signs to the "Amtrak trains" point to, or are you supposed to continue to the South Concourse and turn left and pass through the red velvet rope with the warning sign that says you can only pass through there if you are accompanied by Amtrak personnel (or something to that effect)? I and my party of 8 chickened out at the velvet rope and warning sign as I recognized that this is how you exit the Amtrak platforms and it didn't seem to be an approved entrance and I wasn't interested in getting yelled at by Amtrak personnel or Amtrak police. So that leads me to my second issue.
b. We backtracked to the general boarding area for Amtrak trains and went to "Gate D", which is what our train was listed at. We had to go past a lot of people queued up for Gates B or C IIRC so that seemed to be following the ML PA instructions to "go past all the people". At that point, since we were coming from the ML, were we supposed to get any preferential treatment (i.e. go to the head of the queue at that gate for our train), or were we supposed to join the back of the queue? We joined the back of the queue, because it was short and moving and only took a minute or two to reach the Amtrak employee checking tickets, and I didn't see anyone else jumping to the front of the queue.
Based on some of the more recent posts here, it seems we may have been allowed to go past the velvet rope and warning sign, but I don't see how we would have had any proof that were were allowed to do that, unless our business class tickets would have sufficed. And if that's the case, then the warning sign at the velvet rope should have said "Boarding here for Business Class and Sleeper Customers is Permitted". Furthermore, the "directions" provided over the PA in the ML for how to get to the train should have said "follow the signs for the Metra trains / South Concourse, turn left, go through the velvet rope, and show your business class / sleeper tickets if anyone asks". That would have explained everything.